Unless you were recently abducted by aliens or had me blocked on all social media channels (not a bad idea, really) you would have noticed that (with the help of a bangin’ group of Canberra romance writers) I hosted a screening of the film Love Between the Covers at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre.
Around fifty people showed up and though we’d asked the audience to write their questions for our panel of romance writers on their tickets before handing them in, I was kind of surprised when they actually did it. And did they ask some beauties! There were quite a few questions about sex (mostly from the male members of the audience, bless their hearts) and because my sense of humour is a little saucy (think Bukowski on Viagra) those just happened to be the ones that stuck with me and I'd like to share.
Question: Do you find that there is pressure to be as spicy as your protagonist in real life?
Sweet baby Jesus, I hope not. I write about heroines who are up for threesomes and foursomes and bondage fun, but I’m more the sort of gal who worries about urinary tract infections, rope burn and STDs. Fantasy means not having to worry about all that. Plus, who’s going to pressure me? It’s just me and the pet rocks living in my writing cave!
Question: Do any of you use porn as a research aid for inspiration for your sex scenes?
I think the best answer for this question is “I’ll tell you all about how I use porn if you tell me how you use it first.” I’m pretty sure that would be the end of the conversation.
But, yes, the joy of porn. Which writer was it who once said porn had all the charm of open heart surgery? I can’t remember, but it seems an apt analogy when talking about some of the hardcore video stuff I’ve encountered online while looking for pictures of unicorns and daisies. And the thing is, I write romance, and not a lot of porn is very romantic. Porn is all ‘oh, I see you have genitals, I have some too, want to rub them together? And then we’ll go rub them with him and him and her’ whereas romance is more ‘you and your genitals are the light of my life, no genitals shine brighter than yours’ and ‘our genitals shall merge and become one and be together forever more’ or something like that.
Thus, while the odd interesting picture on Tumblr or Facebook may provide some inspiration, the sex in romance is about feelings and sensation rather than mechanics, so the inspiration for sexy times usually has to tumble straight from my brain (or that of my characters).
Question: Do you become aroused when writing steamy sections in your novels or do you get desensitised over time?
I love this question for so many reasons, the main one being that I get an image of me in my slippers and a dressing gown, hair in curlers, a fag dangling off my lip as I stare at the laptop in distaste and mutter “oh, fuck me, not another effing sex scene to write”. The idea that I might develop some kind of Pavlovian aversion to sex, or simply turn into a robot devoid of normal human responses, is hilarious. I can also imagine explaining to a partner, new or old, ‘sorry, but that sex stuff doesn’t do it for me because I write about it all day long. How about we play Candy Crush instead?’
Question: Are your stories reflections of your fantasies and desires?
Another kind of personal question, but was I embarrassed? Hell to the no. Because authors get this one A LOT. And I’d really like to know if science fiction and crime fiction writers often get asked questions like ‘do you write about murder because you’d like to kill your family?’ or ‘do you write about space monkeys flying out of alien butts because you’d like to be an alien and have space monkeys fly out of your alien butt?’
Though, to be honest, my main fantasy is of a socially just society and often my writing has a feminist slant. But somehow I don’t think that was the kind of fantasy being asked about…